Several times a year, I put aside my writing to become a “criminal”—not really committing crimes but becoming a role player to help train new police officers. A number of years ago I attended a citizens’ police academy, and I’m now a member of an alumni group that meets monthly but also volunteers to assist with police training.
Yesterday, my role was to be an aggressive panhandler. I learned that our city ordinance allows panhandling under the following circumstances: the panhandler can stand in a safe public place with a sign and can ask someone for money once. If the panhandler asks more than once, follows a person or touches a person, it’s considered aggressive panhandling and can lead to a police citation. I was an aggressive and obnoxious panhandler and received five citations for violating section 5-3-7 of the municipal code, which could lead to a bond of $250.